It seems like everybody's pessimistic about the 2016 Presidential elections: it seems that many Republicans have long since written off the possibility of winning the White House this November, while many Democrats don't trust the polls showing Hillary with a 2-digit lead against Trump nationwide, pointing to the way that Trumps' numbers started off low early in his Presidential campaign, and just grew and grew, in spite of many people thinking he couldn't possibly go far in the race, because he just too much of a blustering idiot, sexist, racist and all-around far-right psycho. I myself (Democrat) don't see any reason to think that Hillary won't thrash The Donald in the Presidential race. So put me down as an unusually-optimistic Democrat in that regard (and keep in mind that I have a fairly good track record of predicting Presidential election results). What made The Donald thrive in the Republican primaries, after years of the GOP following the Tea Party whacko fringe instead of attempting to lead, will not make him more popular with the general public as they get to know him better.
However, there remains the question of the down-ballot elections: the elections for the Senate, the House and for state and local offices and ballot measures. And this is where all the Republican talk about a 3rd-party run comes in. I had been beside myself with glee at the thought of a Republican alternative to Trump running as an independent: this would split the vote for President on the Right, I thought, and make Hillary's margin of victory that much more huge.
And so far, I was right. However, I had mistakenly thought of a huge landslide by Hillary, and a huge Democratic landslide down-ballot, as going hand in hand, until last night when a GOP talking head (I'm sorry, I don't remember his name) spelled it out for me: the thinking behind a conservative 3rd-party run is that the GOP has already written off any chance of preventing Hillary from being elected President, and the purpose of the 3rd-party run would actually be to get Republican to the polls who otherwise would not vote at all: they vote for the non-Trump conservative candidate, and they also vote for the Republicans in the Senate and House and state and local elections where the vote on the Right is not split. Therefore, the result of the 3rd-party run would be a bigger margin of victory for Hillary, and at the same time, smaller gains for the Democrats in the Senate and House and state and local elections and ballot measures.
What can we Democrats do? The usual things: encourage other Democrats to vote, encourage them to vote down-ballot. (Getting ahead of myself: it would be really nice if they'd also turn out in 2018 so that we could win a mid-term for a change. That'd be super. Mid-term. Mid-term. Mid-term. It's not just a college thing, young feelers of the Bern! Google it! Or whatever else you do, in case only old people still use Google.)